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St. Louis inmates get portable air conditioners after protests over oppressive heat

ST. LOUIS — The city workhouse heat crisis cooled down a few degrees Monday. Portable air conditioners arrived to bring some relief for inmates and staff who have been sweating out a heatwave. Elliott Davis first broke this story on Facebook.  It went viral, grabbing the attention of the public, families of those inside, and ultimately got government leaders to take action.

The trucks with the portable air conditioners began arriving at the workhouse Monday morning.  They should bring the help for those inside the facility suffering from the oppressive heat. It's the culmination of a dramatic week.

People inside the building were sweating out the heat wave with temperatures over 100 degrees inside the buildings. Inmates were yelling for help.

Many of the inmates are awaiting trial. Many others can't make bail. But the heat is oppressive for both the workers and the staff.

On Thursday, Board President Lewis Reed sent letters to the city's board of public service and the head of the workhouse.  He asked them to rent portable air conditioners to cool the facility. Mayor Krewson's administration signed off on the idea. Now the workhouse is a big step closer to being cooler.

The cost of renting the portable air conditioners is $40,000 for the first month and $140,000 for three months. Reed says the city needs to review workhouse procedure so they can react faster the next time it faces a crisis like this one.